You do it at parties. You do it at breakfasts. You do it on Tinder. You probably do it on the elevator. So why does the idea of connecting with a stranger on LinkedIn feel so weird?

When it comes to LinkedIn, it’s understandable if you feel hesitant about approaching strangers in an attempt to turn cold leads into warm ones. If you can relate to this, here are a few ways to shift your perspective.

Meeting strangers is your GOAL.

Ponder this. Your friends, colleagues, networking buddies and warm leads know what you do. And, your product or service is either not what they need, or they’ve already bought it from you. It’s the strangers who don’t realise the value you can provide them, and they’re not going to suddenly find out about you and develop an uncontrollable urge to reach out. So it’s not only appropriate to connect with strangers you don’t know on LinkedIn; it’s a necessity if you want to grow your business.

Meeting strangers is their goal, too.

People do not show up on LinkedIn to share pictures of their cat, get cool ideas for their kids’ birthday parties or post a trite question about the the background of purple. They are on LinkedIn to connect for business – just like you are. If you’re feeling awkward, you can bet they’re feeling it too. So imagine their delight (and relief) to have someone reach out to them first. Yes, it’s exactly like that first time you went to a networking event and prayed that people would come over to you and introduce themselves. So, take the first step- they’ll be glad you did!

What’s holding you back is fear.

Fear of being rejected. Fear of looking bad. Fear of failure. These three whack-a-moles are not going away, but that doesn’t mean they have to control you. Here’s an idea: Tell your fears to take a hike! They can come back tomorrow (if they feel so inclined). But today, you’re going to take action as though you couldn’t fail. Imagine what it will feel like when you genuinely connect with someone that could become your next client- what an awesome feeling! Now’s the time to decide if you want to be scared, or successful.

Time is our most valuable asset.

Successful business people and those who never get off the ground both have one thing in common: 24 hours in a day. Can you afford to spend time driving to networking events, talking with two or three people, listening to a speaker and then driving back to work? Imagine if in that same time (say, two hours) you could reach out to 20 prospects. Wouldn’t that feel more efficient; more productive?

OK, so now that you might be thinking it’s time to kick your fears to the curb and reach out to strangers, you might be wondering what’s the best method to connect on LinkedIn? The most effective option is to send a connection request that contains a personal message using the “permission method”. More on what this is, and how it will completely change the way you are using LinkedIn in the next post: so stay tuned!